Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation): Introduction | Definition, Clinical Description, and Diagnosis | Assessment of Intellectual and Adaptive Functioning | Epidemiology | Etiology, Mechanisms, and Risk Factors | Genetic Syndromes and Behavioral Phenotypes | Developmental Course and Prognosis | Evaluation | Comorbid Psychopathology | Assessment | Communication of the Diagnosis to Parents | Treatment | Educational and Community Services and Supports | Research Directions | Summary Points | References
In 1992, the American Association on Mental
Retardation (AAMR), now the American Association on Intellectual
Disability and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), proposed a new
classification system for intellectual disability based on intensity
of supports needed (intermittent, limited, extensive, and pervasive)
as opposed to the traditional system of classification by IQ score
(mild, moderate, severe, and profound). The current definition (not
yet reflected in the current version of the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association 1994] and its text revision,
DSM-IV-TR [American Psychiatric Association 2000])
recognizes that intellectual disability is characterized by genuine impairments,
but it also reflects the idea that these impairments are strongly
influenced by the individual's interaction with the environment.
The new definition emphasizes strengths rather than limitations.